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    8 min read

    How Can Companies Protect Themselves From Hackers?

    By Kay Swift

    The digital world is a unique landscape. It’s one that most people may access from anywhere on the planet with just an internet connection and an internet-enabled device. Unfortunately, not all those who go online do so with good intentions. Just as in real life, companies and their websites are at risk from criminals, particularly hackers. This makes it important for you to know how to protect your business from hackers.


    For starters, you need to realize that hackers are not after tangible goods, but something more valuable; sensitive data that belongs to your business or its users, customers, and clients. Passwords, user names, addresses, card numbers, social security numbers, browsing data, messages, and other private information are vulnerable.


    As a legal entity that possesses and processes data, you should worry about web security, not just for your users’ sake but also to stop a breach from doing considerable damage to your brand reputation. So, how can companies protect themselves from hackers?


    how to protect your business from hackers

    Know the Importance of Protecting Your Business From Hackers

    Protecting digital assets is very important if your company operates online or stores any sensitive information. Here are the top reasons why businesses protect themselves from hackers and take cybersecurity seriously.


    To Avoid Damage to Your Brand Reputation

    As a company, big or small, your customers look to you to protect their data from hackers. They share data with your website when they shop or interact with you. Most importantly, they do so believing you’ve got their back and that their information is safe with you. A data breach is a significant loss of trust and may cause irreparable damage to a brand’s reputation.


    Not even the most reputable companies are safe or have been knowledgeable enough to know how data can be protected from hackers. LinkedIn, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace, Experian, and several other well-known companies have been involved in high-profile data breaches. However, don’t think for a second that you’re out of the firing range if you’re a smaller outfit.


    The size of your user base notwithstanding, the more sensitive your data or the weaker your defenses, the bigger the threat you face. Additionally, it is not easy to be able to recover from the consequences of a successful cybersecurity attack completely. eCommerce stores and financial websites are at particular risk from hackers. Aside from stealing data, hackers can also cause expensive-to-fix website crashes.


    To Limit Damage to Your Users, Clients, and Customers

    The reason why hackers try to gain access to sensitive data isn’t purely for fun. Data is money and they may sell it for thousands of dollars on the dark web. Once purchased, nefarious elements can use the data for scams, blackmail, or extortion against your website or mobile app users who have no idea how to deal with such occurrences.


    Alternatively, this data may help hackers gain access to users’ bank accounts and other online accounts to steal more personal information.


    It’s hard to forget the Ashley Madison (AM) hack that exposed millions of affair-seekers to their married partners, communities, bosses, and colleagues. While this happened in 2015, Netflix used it as a subject for a documentary in 2024, ensuring that the event remains firmly etched in people’s memories. What’s eerie about the whole episode is that the hacker remains untraced.


    While some may consider this breach more divinely deserved than others, you cannot deny the damage it did. Besides the embarrassment, the data breach resulted in divorces, resignations, and even suicides. Later, some users found themselves embroiled in blackmail and extortion scams while the AM team failed to manage the fallout.


    The AM hack is just one disastrous data breach reputation damage example that harmed its users considerably. If you value yours, being considerate and protecting their data is critical. If users access your software or website for work or commerce, a cyber attack-caused website crash can also result in a significant loss of revenue.

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    To Avoid Lengthy and Costly Lawsuits

    After the initial damage and public relations going for a toss, businesses may not yet have overcome the biggest hurdle. Lawsuits are another reason why you need to know how companies can protect themselves from cybercrime. Users may be able to claim considerable funds in damages, especially if your preventative measures were negligent.


    Ashley Madison users won an $11.2 million settlement for damages from its parent company. Luckily, it had enough funds to foot the bill, but your business may not. On top of settlements, you’re looking at legal fees and investigation costs. Lawsuits may also drag on over multiple years, making it challenging to move past the ordeal.


    To Minimize Business Security Threats

    It’s not only your user and customer data that’s at risk if you don’t know how companies protect themselves from being hacked. Included in the hacked Ashley Madison data were the personal numbers and details of some of its CEOs and founders.


    Your business administrator passwords, financials, and other sensitive business data could easily fall into the wrong hands in a cybersecurity attack. Then, someone may use it in a way that results in additional threats to your physical premises, employees, finances, website, and digital assets.


    To Avoid Loss of Business Revenue, Value, and Share Value

    If there’s one way to wreck a handover, upset shareholders, and cause a significant drop in share or business value, it’s a successful cybersecurity attack. Yahoo was one of the companies that suffered considerable damage to its brand reputation at a critical time. It ended up selling for less than anticipated after its 2013 data breach coincided with its acquisition by Verizon.


    If you’re going public, trying to build your business, encouraging new shareholders to opt in, or even selling it, you don’t want to be in the same boat.


    Those running eCommerce stores may face further challenges. These may see a considerable drop in sales due to a loss in customer trust. The last thing most buyers want to do is share their financial account and card details with you after your current customers’ details get exposed.


    how companies protect themselves from being hacked

    How Can Companies Protect Themselves From Cyber Crime?

    Cybersecurity is a real threat to fair and open online trade and interaction. Luckily, there are effective ways to safeguard your business in the digital landscape. So, how do companies protect themselves from being hacked and stop hackers from doing damage to their brand reputation, revenue, and user data?


    1. Improve Password Security

    One of the common ways hackers gain access to your data is by logging into your online systems. They may do this by using passwords compromised in a previous data breach or by an employee. The top ways to protect your business, devices, and computers from hackers misusing your passwords include:

    • Using complex and impersonal passwords. You may get tempted to use passwords that feature personal details or similar elements to other passwords to make them more memorable. However, don’t do this as it’s one of the top ways hackers guess passwords.
    • Using a password generator. One of the top ways to deal with hackers is to use a password generator to create challenging-to-guess passwords. These may include nonsensical sequences of symbols, numbers, and lowercase and uppercase letters.
    • Not storing your passwords anywhere vulnerable. It may be challenging to remember all our passwords. However, be sure to store your passwords in a safe place, such as a notebook in your safe. Alternatively, you may download a reputable password vault or manager in which to keep them.
    • Using different passwords for each account. If you’re wondering what can protect you from hackers, make sure you never reuse a password. This is because once a password leaks in a breach, you’re in trouble if you’ve reused it for other accounts. Hackers may look online to find the platforms you’re active on or simply make a guess. Then, they try your reused password to gain access.
    • Changing passwords regularly. One of the benefits of changing your passwords regularly is that it helps minimize the threat of unknown data breaches. Set a reminder every month or a few months, depending on your data’s sensitivity. You may also send out password reset links to all your employees to get them to follow suit.
    • Prioritizing financial, recovery email, and administrator password security. You may recover most accounts by using the email address with which you created them, which makes these details a top threat. Prioritize the security of any recovery email accounts by changing their passwords more regularly. Keeping them secret by not using them for anything else is another way to protect your business from hackers. In addition, you should treat financial and admin passwords and usernames with utmost care.


    2. Train All Your Employees on Cybersecurity

    Another top way in which hackers get access to sensitive accounts and information is through employee negligence. After all, not everyone on your team is tech-savvy, and the ones who aren’t are, in all likelihood, your weakest link in a cybersecurity attack.


    When it comes to how can companies protect themselves from hackers, one of the best ways is to invest in regular cybersecurity training for your employees. Rolling out a Virtual Private Network (VPN), an antivirus program, and encryption software are a few other ways to protect company data from hackers.

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    3. Treat, Pay, and Charge Your Staff and Customers Fairly

    While not always the case, there have been instances of vindictive employees and customers posing cybersecurity threats to businesses. These angry factions may easily damage your brand’s reputation by hacking your accounts or providing sensitive information to hackers.


    Treating staff fairly and ensuring customer service is up to par are other ways how companies can protect themselves from hackers. Setting up internal and external complaints procedures may also help mitigate attacks by making them feel heard.


    4. Store As Little Data Required

    Anyone sharing data or operating an online store or a website is vulnerable to being a target of a cybersecurity attack. A small percentage of users may even have experienced a hacker stealing their information or logging into their accounts. However, what may be the deciding factor on whether or not this causes harm is the data in question.


    Bear in mind that while there has been a considerable evolution in how to prevent hacking in business, storing minimal data still remains one of the top ways to safeguard your business from hackers. After all, getting in trouble for data you don’t even use seems senseless.


    Many online stores now offer customers the option to store or not store payment details. Storing the bare minimum of data may also act as an effective damage control measure. If all you keep is customer or user names and passwords, it’s easy enough to control the damage by temporarily blocking accounts and sending out direct password reset links.


    How do companies protect themselves from being hacked?

    5. Partner With a Secure Online Payment Service

    Online payment is tricky, with its associated data topping the list of the worst data breach examples. You need your customers’ sensitive financial details, including card numbers, expiry dates, and CVVs to process a sale digitally.


    However, this is precisely some of the sensitive data that hackers want most. Not only can they use it to steal money, but also to execute more effective blackmail scams. Luckily, banks have ramped up security on card sales, demanding OTP authorization and other secondary security measures.


    If you’re wondering how to protect your business online when it comes to carrying out financial transactions, it makes sense to partner with secure payment platforms. Online payment services such as PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout, Payoneer, Square, Apple Pay, and Google Pay are a few good choices.


    When you partner with these services, your business may not even be responsible for storing your customers’ bank account or credit card details. This is because your website or app will redirect your customers to the payment provider’s gateway to complete their purchases. Once authenticated, you’ll get your confirmation of receipt of payment and may proceed with dispatching the order.


    6. Hire a Professional to Put Your Systems to the Test

    More often than not, companies fall prey to hackers by accident, not purposely. Unfortunately, ignoring the weaknesses of software/hardware and new technological developments may result in devastating data breaches and cyberattacks.


    If your focus and experience lie in other areas of your business, you probably don’t have the know-how or time to defend your data or website. Most companies don’t. However, cybersecurity professionals such as ethical hackers and website maintenance companies do.


    These knowledgeable professionals may test your systems to expose security issues. A website maintenance company may not just maintain your servers and website, but also regularly scan your site to isolate security vulnerabilities. This way, it can consistently protect your business website, devices, and computers from hackers.


    7. Partner With an Expert for Long-Term Assistance

    An easy way to protect your business from hackers over the long term is to partner with professionals who can help improve your security measures and processes. These cybersecurity defenses should be a consideration from the start, be it when starting to use internet-enabled devices at work or when setting up a new online shop or website.


    The team may build extra security features into your website during the design and development process. Cybersecurity professionals may also recommend additional technologies, software, and hardware in which to invest. These may be relevant to your business and may also help you understand how to protect your customers’ data from hackers.

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    Here are some important cybersecurity features that a web development company may build into your website to protect your business from hackers.

    • Biometric authentication. Biometric authentication is a relatively new safety-related technology. It allows website and app users to log in securely using biometrics like facial recognition and fingerprint scans.
    • Login notifications. These notify users via SMS, email, or direct app notification whenever someone logs into their account. If users know when an unauthorized login occurs, they might be able to block and deal with hackers quickly.
    • Two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires a website or app user to input a code when logging in. Sent via email or text, the process adds another layer of security. This technology is ideal for sensitive financial, administrative, and government websites.


    8. Plan and Prepare for the Inevitable

    Unfortunately, data breaches and hacks are a reality in this digital age. It’s not a matter of if but when it might happen to your company. If you’ve understood how to protect your business from hackers and are willing to take the required measures to improve your website security, you’re likely to bounce back faster than if you’ve been negligent. However, when a data breach becomes public, all hell may break loose.


    Many companies don’t get in trouble simply because of a cybersecurity attack. Often, they do so because of the way they handle or mishandle the event. One way how companies protect against cyber attacks is by having suitable PR strategies and people on hand for crisis management. These may help to minimize damage to your brand reputation.


    Having a strategy for dealing with the increased volume of user calls and emails is also ideal. However, one of the most important steps to include in your plan is damage control. Your company should know precisely what to do to protect compromised data and users in the event of a data breach.


    This plan of action may include temporarily blocking compromised user accounts as well as sending out notifications to users along with password reset emails. The faster you act, the better, and higher the chance you’ll be able to reduce damage to your brand reputation.



    When operating online, be it on work devices or via internal software, cloud storage, or a website, it’s essential to consider cybersecurity. Hackers are always looking for new targets, and you don’t want to end up as a statistic in a data breach example. Try as you may to learn how companies can protect themselves from hackers, it might be in your best interest to leave this aspect to a professional web security company. It can then help you map out and implement a suitable cybersecurity plan for your website and apps.

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